Burn 500 Calories in a 45-Minute Boxing Workout
Is Your Workout REALLY Burning Calories…or Just Making You Sweat?
You just slogged through a run in the scorching heat, you’re beet red, and you feel like you need to wring out your shirt. All that sweat must mean you worked really hard and burned a ton of calories, right? Errr, no.
“‘Sweat is your fat crying’ couldn’t be more far from the truth,” says Baltimore-based exercise scientist Erica Suter, C.S.C.S. In reality, your extra sweaty bod could be the result of a lot of different things, like your age, sex, fitness level, the number of sweat glands you have, your DNA, or simply the temperature outside, she says.
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Instead of relying on your boob sweat to tell you how hard you’re working, follow these tips to make sure you're actually torching cals and getting fit. (For more tips on how to build muscle, pick up by Holly Perkins.)
1. Listen to Your Tummy
If you're hungry post-workout, you're doing something right. Immediately or shortly after a solid sesh, your body is screaming for nutrients, says Suter. A substantial workout, whether strength training or cardio, usually burns 200 calories or more. That’s also the “sweet spot” of energy expenditure where most women will need to refuel with a post-workout meal or smoothie, she says. “It’s OK to be hungry! That’s your body telling you that you worked hard and it’s time to refuel for some added energy,” says Suter.
2. Focus on Perfect Form
Concentrating on nailing the perfect pushup pretty much ensures you're burning cals. (Even though strength training might not always make you sweat buckets.) The more muscle you have, the more efficient your metabolism is, both during and after a workout, says Suter. “Executing empowering strength lifts, such as deadlifts, squats, and pullups aren’t meant to get you soaked," says Suter. "They’re meant for perfect form and proper recovery, two things that will build muscle and guarantee burned calories.”
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3. Pay Attention to Your Heart Rate Zones
This one gets a little tricky, since you’ll have to have a device to track your heart rate (think: a fitness tracker or a heart rate monitor that you wear under your sports bra). But monitoring your heart rate can help you vary your workout intensity for the biggest burn, says Suter. Interval training (think: alternating between 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate and 50 to 70 percent) can boost your metabolism and increase excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which is critical for burning loads of calories at rest, says Suter. Or, in simple terms: “If you’re moving slow, medium, and fast with your cardio workouts, you’re ahead of the game,” she says. (FYI: The maximum heart rate for the average 30-year-old woman is 179 beats per minute.)
4. Make Sure You’re Feeling the Afterburn
It’s just as important to pay attention to how you feelaftera workout as it is to assess how you feel mid-session. If you’re sweating a ton during Spin, but your muscles don’t feel tired afterward, you may not have worked hard enough, says Suter. “For women who sweat a lot, I would say they are still working hard, but not to jump to conclusions that their workout is efficient,” she says. This doesn’t mean you need to be crazy-sore for days, just make sure your muscles feel fatigued afterwards.
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5. Switch It Up
The best way to get your metabolism moving and burn more calories? Make sure your program never stagnates and that you’re staying challenged, says Suter. “Sometimes trudging along on the elliptical in sweatpants for weeks on end isn't going to alter your physique. Or, circuit training DVDs with the same exercises each week that push you to drown in a pool of sweat won't do the job either,” she says.
Video: How YOU REALLY Burn Calories (Not what you thought!)
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